During that time, the Gulkana Glacier has steadily diminished due to significantly warmer summers in interior Alaska and a relatively unchanged level of snowfall. The third largest spring snowpack in 36 years on Gulkana Glacier won’t necessarily reverse the current slow retreat of the glacier and usher in a new growth cycle, according to U.S. Geological Survey hydrologists who measured the glacier’s snowpack in late April. The Gulkana Glacier Trail is a great afternoon hike–about X MILES long—complete with two swinging drawbridges to cross before you reach the glacier. Predicted summer warming of 2 to 4 degrees C (3.6 to 7.2 degrees F) and a marked decrease in snow accumulation will contribute to the loss of many thousands of glaciers in Alaska and northwest Canada by the end of the century. Discover world-changing science.  1967, Unknown USGS photographer. 2016, L. Sass, USGS.Public domain. Shaded areas indicate 1σ variability. In addition to the work in Alaska, the USGS Benchmark Glacier program also includes South Cascade Glacier in Washington State and Sperry Glacier in Montana. Those changes could contribute to the loss of thousands of glaciers in Alaska and northwest Canada by the end of the century. The 1875 advance again blocked College Creek, and another small ice-dammed lake formed. “Detailed and continuous records of this length are exceedingly rare in our field and thus these are indispensable to our understanding of the changes we’re observing across this region.”. At Phelan Cr., the decadal-averaged peak annual mean daily runoff increased on average 114 % from 14 (2000-2010) Since the 1990s, the retreat of glaciers in Alaska has made a disproportionally large contribution to global sea level rise. The face is up to 400 feet tall, and icebergs 3 to 4 stories in height aren’t uncommon. Getting There. Since 1875, both glaciers have rapidly thinned and retreated, indicating they have negative … Alaska’s glaciers are important contributors to sea level rise, and also influence coastal ecosystems through the water that they store and release,” said Dr. Shad O’Neel, head of the Glacier Research Program at the USGS Alaska Science Center. Figure 2 shows trends for three “benchmark” glaciers: South Cascade Glacier in Washington state, Wolverine Glacier near Alaska’s southern coast, and Gulkana Glacier in Alaska’s interior. Gulkana glacier Ln , Martinsburg, WV 25403 is currently not for sale. The accumulation zone consists of four cirque glaciers which converge in a simple south-flowing ablation area. We thus compiled a glacier database for Alaska and neighboring Canada using multi-sensor satellite data from 2000 to 2011. Granted, most of that ice is below water, but the ice can be so thick that cruise ships can’t get too close. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. Long-term records from Wolverine and Gulkana glaciers show that summer warming has resulted in sustained mass loss. So we’re getting some core baseline biological data to go with the physical drivers that go back 50 years.”. That is approximately enough ice to cover a two-kilometer-wide (1.2 mile-wide) swath of land between New York and Los Angeles with an ice sheet that is one kilometer … Travel. Other parameters, such as depth measurement through the use of ice radar, GPS … Repeat oblique photographs of Wolverine glacier in Alaska. To study those impacts, the glaciologists are teaming up with ecologists, oceanographers, biologists and botanists to assess how socio-economically important species like salmon are likely to fare in the warmer Alaska of the future. Experts say those glaciers are influenced by different climates, allowing scientists to compare how glaciers respond in different regions. This is where I spent my summers and winters. a –1, contrasting with retreat and mass loss of −0.60 ± 0.15 m w.e. These changes are evident in both field and in airborne and space-borne data. Ice motion also slowed, which combined with the negative mass balance, resulted in glacier retreat under a warming climate. The glaciers and ice fields of Alaska are responsible for nearly 50 percent of the water that flows into the Gulf of Alaska. The bottom photo is 49 years later, in 2016, and shows the shrinkage of the glacier. “We’re trying to quantify the water flow, the water chemistry and then the vegetation that’s in the basin, the species that are there, all the way from the glacier terminus down to the ocean,” O’Neel explained. Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. Daniel McGrath, a research geophysicist with the program, said much of the government’s ongoing climate research draws from the USGS’s 50 years of Alaska glacier studies. Mar 1, 2012 - Shasta Retreat in Dunsmuir. Gulkana Glacier is a glacier filling several valleys in the east-central Alaska Range in the state of Alaska. “Detailed and continuous records of this length are exceedingly rare in our field, and thus these are indispensable to our understanding of the changes we’re observing across this region.”. “We had a team of biological oceanographers that went into Kings Bay, which is where Wolverine drains into,” he said. According to the USGS, climate change could cause summer temperatures to warm by 3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and snow accumulation to markedly decrease. Those early findings, repeated twice a year for the last 50 years, became the baseline for the government’s Benchmark Glacier program, the longest continuous glacier research in North America. This is where I spent my summers and winters. The inventory yielded a glacierized … 1). Tidewater Taku Glacier advanced and gained mass at an average rate of +0.25 ± 0.28 m w.e. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, Amid Ice Melt, New Shipping Lanes Are Drawn Up off Alaska, Arctic Nations May Confront U.S. on Climate Change, Some Disaster Prevention Spending Reaps Higher Rewards, Climate Preparation Report Released by Panel Previously Disbanded by Trump. 1), topographic maps made in 1909, When a glacier melts completely, it exposes the earth’s surface, and this has the opposite effect, meaning that 80% of heat is absorbed and 20% is deflected. Since the 1990s, the retreat of glaciers in Alaska has made a disproportionally large contribution to global sea-level rise. “These records are a testament to the hard work of many individuals and an early vision by USGS on the importance of glaciers in the landscape,” said Daniel McGrath, a research geophysicist with the program. The Benchmark Glacier data are available at https://www2.usgs.gov/landresources/lcs/glacierstudies/massbaldata.asp, Additional information about the USGS Benchmark Glacier program can be found at  https://www2.usgs.gov/landresources/lcs/glacierstudies/default.asp, Office of Communications and Publishing12201 Sunrise Valley DriveReston, VA 20192United StatesPhone: 703-648-4460, Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial Data, https://www2.usgs.gov/landresources/lcs/glacierstudies/massbaldata.asp, https://www2.usgs.gov/landresources/lcs/glacierstudies/default.asp.
2020 gulkana glacier retreat